The stage is now set for the final act of the 2012 election: the televised debates.
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President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney will go at it first, rhetorically sparring about all things domestic policy beginning at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Political junkies will be cheering on their particular guy all over town, including a smattering of debate watch parties here on Capitol Hill, whether on the Senate side (201 Bar) or House side (Bullfeathers, Tortilla Coast) or even down H Street Northeast (the Pug). Team Obama boasts gatherings galore, trumpeting dozens of networking activities ranging from friendly potlucks and “dessert and debate” sessions to hard-core phone banking events. A slew of D.C. restaurants are also throwing open their doors to Obama supporters, including: 201 Bar, Busboys and Poets (all locations), Expo Lounge, Lima, Cobalt, Barcode, Jackie Lee’s the Lounge Uptown, Crown Bakery, Parthenon Restaurant and T.G.I. Friday’s.
Team Romney appears to be counting on greater support from the suburbs, scheduling watch parties at campaign headquarters in Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., and Richmond, Va., as well as a bar in Harrisburg, Pa.
Prefer a nonpartisan setting?
The National Press Club will broadcast the rhetorical jousting for everyone in the Bloomberg Room, while working journalists are invited to commiserate about having to labor late into the evening at the members-only Truman Lounge.
The voyeurism continues all month. Vice President Joseph Biden and Romney running mate Paul Ryan (Wis.) will take center stage on Oct. 11. Any bets that Tortilla Coast, where Ryan famously used to wait tables, will have drink or taco specials for the vice presidential debate? Obama and Romney will then resurface for a town-hall-style showdown on Oct. 16, followed by a final bout regarding foreign policy issues Oct. 22.